And Then There Were Flowers

Last week sucked. I mean it sucked so hard, it choked on King Kong’s dong. Believe it or not, this week is a fuckton worse. But this is about last week, not this week’s special brand of misery.

But you know what? I’m finally starting to see that maybe, just maybe, it’s worth it for me to fight through it. It’s worth it for me to not lose sight of my goals and hopes and dreams. Because I deserve happiness, too. (What the fuck did I just say? For real? Yeah, you miserable bitch, take that! We’re not gonna be miserable forever! So fuck you!)

Ahem. And there have been a few very specific people who have been helped me through some of my most recent darkest hours. I don’t want to call out names, in case it would make you uncomfortable. But every fucking one of you know who you are. The emails. The voice recordings. The phone calls. The silly memes. The comforting. The commiseration. And I love y’all for it, I do. Not the I wanna sex you up kinda love (well maybe one of you – maybe). But there are other kinds of love, and I’m feeling this wonderful familial vibe from so many of you. It’s taken me by storm. And you all overwhelm me with your goodness.

And then there were flowers.

Last Friday, my name was called over the intercom at work. “Stephanie Llaneous, please report to the front desk. Stephanie, please report to the front desk.” Whatever. I figured it was time to pony up another buck for the office powerball pool. When I finally get down there, I round the corner and the women up there are grinning at me. There was a bouquet of flowers up there, and they were for me!

I was befuddled. I mean, who would send me flowers? So I looked at the card, and here’s what it reads:

For a Very Special Friend. Have a Good Day.

The fuck?

I don’t have any Very Special Friends. I mean, not outside of the blogosphere. And even if you know where I work, that isn’t enough. I work in a very specific building, so it had to be someone who knew that. And no one in bloggyville does.

So the mystery begins.

The people I share an office with were lovin’ it. And dying to know, right along with me. So then the questions started: are you seeing anyone we don’t know about? Does someone in the office have a crush on you? Duh. Creepy Carl and Panel Van Paco. But neither of them would buy flowers. They’d just chloroform me and stuff me in their trunks. What about outside the office? Crushes who know where you work? Look, people. No one crushes on The Stephanie, capiche?

The only person I could think of would be my ex who, no matter how many years go by, still wants me back. (It’s a difficult story, y’all, and one I’m not ready to talk about here.) So anyway, I call him up.

It wasn’t me. I wish it was, so you’d know you’re never far from my mind. But it wasn’t me.

Then it was like, “Oh my god, Stephanie! What if it’s a woman?!” So then I actually started getting ideas.

First, there is a woman who works in the room with me, and she’s so sweet and fun and motherly. And she knows a little of the fact that I’ve had a very difficult time of late. No details, just generally speaking. Plus she’s witnessed most of the work bullying and has my back big time. So I asked her, point blank.

Nice Lady, did you send these flowers to me?

No way! I wish I had, but they sure are gorgeous! I promise I’d tell you, but it wasn’t me!

Then it hit me. And my sneaking suspicion turned out to be true. It was a woman, someone I’ve had lots of official dealings with during my time at this company. She sends Christmas cards, Halloween buckets filled to the brim with premium candy, King Cakes, etc. For the whole office throughout the year. And when I moved departments, she would make sure that I’d be included by sending me a separate little card or gift. She always missed me when I moved departments, and I missed working with her. She was a bright spot in my days when I’d work with her or talk with her (but oh my god can that woman drone on and on!).

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve had to clean up messes made by some others (not to imply I don’t make my own now and then), so I’ve been working closely with her again. (She’s outside the company, by the way.)

Later that day, last Friday, she sends me an email to thank me for the most recent thing I had prepared for her. And then she asked…”So, any surprises today?” And my suspicion was confirmed. I was in the middle of doing something else for her, and she wanted to make it clear it had nothing to do with the personal pet project she needed help with. But it was to let me know that I’m much appreciated and how much she appreciates my efficiency, kindness, attitude, and on and on. And then she said,

Also, I just had this nagging feeling that you could use a pick-me-up.

Every time something like this happens, I become more and more convinced of the interconnection of spirits and souls or what have you. I know there’s a word for it, but I can’t word right now. (Fuck you, brainhole.)

And then she offered me a job. Which is straight up poaching, because my current supervisor is the one she works directly with here! I’d take it in an instant, but my choices were between two cities I have no interest in residing in. However, their company does have a big location in the Pacific Northwest. So she could totally be an in for me. I’m gearing up to ask her for a reference. But this all requires a separate post.

Anyway.

Thank you, Awesome Flower Woman. Thank you, Kickass Blogger Buddies. Thank you Synchronicity (ohmygod I found the word! I worded!). Thank you Snuffleupagus.

~

This post brought to you by:

Flowers, because they sure do brighten a day.
The Letter S for Synchronicity. And Snuffleupagus, because he was the bestest.
And Fire, for Fires in the Belly and those who put them there.

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Why did No One Warn Me about the Fucking Janitor? (Or: The Office Romance that Wasn’t)

There are things in life that we all expect to get a heads-up on. Things like:

How to get bullied in elementary school. Here are some helpful tips: Thou shalt cut thy little girl’s hair into a little boy’s helmet head. Thou shalt furthermore dress thy little girl in Quaker style dresses and high-water pants. Theyest shall harass the everlovingshit out of thy little girl if thou dost. Thine daughter shalt never forget.

Driving forty miles per hour through a school zone will get you pulled over, even if you don’t turn any toddlers into roadkill. Fortunately for the hypersensitive, your genuine tears of distress and shame will probably get your ticket downgraded to a seat-belt violation.

If you step on a crack, you will not break your mama’s back. No matter how many times you try it. You sick fuck.

Working in Corporate Hell will cause your soul to evaporate. Ask me how I know. (Don’t ask. I’m pretty sure it’s self-explanatory. Besides, my soul has evaporated, so I just won’t answer you.)

Taco Bell rhymes with Taco Hell for a reason. Run away from the border, unless you want to learn the true meaning of explosive.

Never ever glance into an open restroom stall, however inadvertent it may be. You will learn that your COO only dyes the hair on her head to hide the gray. She will giggle and wave. And you will be traumatized for life. For life.

Thou shalt never ever slather cream cheese on chicken or on strawberry cupcakes. Or Stephanies will punch you in the butt cheeks. Both of them.

See? Those all sound like reasonable things to request fair warnings over, yes? I mean, sure, some things will escape us. It’s not my fault I didn’t see the spinach protruding from your teeth before you went into the boss’ office. Therefore, I couldn’t possibly have warned you. Unless you were Queen Bitch and I did that shit on purpose and quietly laughed for a good hour over it. What? That’s purely conjecture, people. You can’t judge me for conjecture. Assholes. Besides, she deserved worse.

I mean, hell. Just ask George R.R. Martin. He’s only been warning us Winter is Coming for a fucking decade. Now there’s a guy who gets it. Unfortunately, not everyone does.

FairWarning_905

Creepy Carl is Creepy

So it would have been Really Fucking Nice to get a fair warning about The Janitor. Let’s call him Creepy Carl, shall we? We shall. He’s in his sixties and a little slow. That’s not a slam; it’s true.

I started my current job about three and a half years ago. Initially I was in a database department, just me and two guys. That suited my personality perfectly. It took a few months for me to warm up to them, but once I finally did I could out-crass both of them. Which  made for some hilarious interchanges. It’s one of the things I miss about that department – the chill factor. So, anyway, I was new at the time, and maybe they didn’t see it coming. Maybe they decided to give Creepy Carl the benefit of a doubt. Maybe they didn’t think he’d hit on me, in particular. Maybe they simply failed to consider the possibility.

Well guess what? All of that is a damn lie. They knew, and they waited for the tales to come. Those fuckers.

Stage 1: Stephanie is new on the job and super duper shy. This is her default nature until she warms up to people. Stephanie is also bashful and friendly. So Stephanie says “good morning” and “hi” to everyone she passes, with a big (non-toothy) smile plastered to her face.

Stage 2: Creepy Carl’s interest is piqued. Stephanie does not realize this, clueless wondertard that she often is.

Stage 3: Creepy Carl begins shouting his greetings to Stephanie, with exaggerated waves…clear across the office building, warehouse, parking lot, youfuckingname it. Stephanie’s growing anxiety with the situation prompts her to blush and wave, then propel herself out of Creepy Carl’s line of sight as quickly as possible.

Want Frys With That

Stage 4: Wondertard, remember? Stephanie, the former smoker, joined the smoking dudes out back to get her nic, thinking this would be a nifty way to get to know people without actually trying to. Which is usually great, because smokers tend to be blue collar, which are generally cool as fuck. Little did Stephanie know, Creepy Carl is a chain smoker. Not once did she have a smoke without finding him there. With increased exposure came increased encounters and conversation. (Look, I wasn’t gonna be rude to the guy. Even if his overt attention-seeking was creeping me out.)

Stage 5: Creepy Carl begins watching for Stephanie to walk through the double-doors from the offices to the warehouse, from where he would then stop whatever he was doing and make a beeline to follow her to the smoking area. Stephanie was most displeased, uncomfortable and beginning to get well and truly freaked out. Wondertard continued engaging him in conversation anyway. Even when it became obvious that Creepy Carl was fishing for interests and relationship status.

I was always as vague as possible in my responses, without being rude. I figure, the guy’s harmless enough. And probably lonely. Whatever, I know that feeling well enough. What could smoke-break conversations hurt? Even if he is starting to stalk me throughout the building, and people are asking questions.

Stage 6: Creepy Carl gets downright fucking scary. One day Creepy Carl pointed at my car in the parking lot and asked, “That yours?” Stephanie thinks, there’s nothing special about it. The damn thing is about sixteen years old. Stylin’ and profilin’ is my game, bitches. Anyway, so wondertard replies, “Yeah, why?” Creepy Carl returns, “Oh, no reason.”

Stage 7Creepy Carl then attempts to follow Stephanie home after work. No shit, y’all. She twists and turns and evades. She even catches him waving at her in the rear view. She gives the antiquated beast some gas and keeps weaving all through the neighborhood until finally shaking him off her tail. Stephanie pulls into her driveway, heart threatening to pound straight out of her chest, phone in hand ready to dial 911 if he shows up and pulls in behind her.

Stage 8The next day, Creepy Carl asks Stephanie what neighborhood she lives in. She mumbles some incoherent something, smashes her cigarette out and practically runs back to her office to finally ask the guys what the fuck is up with Creepy Carl. Hipster for Jesus smirks and asks, “You smiled at him, didn’t you?” Stephanie cocks her eyebrow and gives him her famous death-to-you-look, and Hipster for Jesus bursts at the seams with laughter. He nearly got kicked to comb-over school for that one.

So now I’m informed to stay away from him. Now I’m informed Creepy Carl creeps on all the girls, particularly the new ones who haven’t gotten wise to him yet. Creepy Carl is also a known thief who steals from people’s desks and unlocked vehicles. Creepy Carl has been caught at all of this and mildly reprimanded for his stalking and stealing. Hipster for Jesus thought it was funnier this way, to wait until it happened to me. Until I told him about the stalking. He had the decency to wait nearly a full business day to ridicule me about that one.

Stage 9: Wondertard not only continues to smoke out back, in known creep-town, but she also continues to smile at Creepy Carl. But one day, before she could make her quick exit after putting out her cig, Creepy Carl asked Wondertard a question. In front of about a dozen other guys all out there on their smoke-break. Which made it fabulous. Fucking fabulous, let me tell you.

Creepy Carl: “Hey Wondertard, have you ever seen The Nutcracker?”

Wondertard: “Yeah, I used to go on annual field trips to see that when I was in elementary school.”

Creepy Carl: “Did you like it?”

Wondertard: “Oh I loved it. Mostly because I got away from school for a while. (Wondertard does NOT know how to shut up.) Hated the bus rides, though. Weren’t those the worst?”

Creepy Carl: “I have two tickets, and I would love to take you out to dinner and to The Nutcracker afterward. We could just see where the night goes.”

Wondertard freezes in her tracks, like a doomed deer in headlights just waiting for the impact that will turn a happy, innocent if retarded little deer into road meat.

The dozen or so guys  immediately cease all conversation and phone games, staring in wonder at the scene unfolding.

Wondertard panics.

Wondertard: “I. Uh. I. Uhm. Well. You see. (shifts from foot to foot, heart racing, eyes wide) Well uhm, I mean. Thank you. That’s so kind of you to think of me. I mean. Really sweet. And uhm. (shuffling toward the door now) I mean it’s just…that’s really sweet. I’ll uhm. I gotta get back to work. Thank you. I’ll uhm. I’ll….

Creepy Carl: “Okay, great! Let me know for sure, and I’ll come pick you up. I know where you live.” (He knows where I live! Holy fuck, I’m gonna die!)

Stage 10Stephanie shakily returns to her office and plops down in her chair, staring at the wall for an interminable amount of time, until finally she cracks: “Hey, Hipster for Jesus?” Yeah? “You’re never gonna believe what just happened…” Yes, fucking Wondertard strikes again. Because you know what happened next? Is what still happens. Stephanie the Wondertard never lives it down. And she also stopped smoking out back, for good, and avoided Creepy Carl like the plague.

I shamefully never gave him an answer. And I do regret that. I just…y’all I’m not the kinda gal that gets asked out. It’s not something I’m used to. It’s not in my realm of experiences, quite frankly. And my anxiety just fucking exploded that day. It didn’t help that he’d tried to follow me home and at some point figured out exactly where I live.

The moral of this story is steer clear of the Creepy Carls in your life, and maybe have a little more sense than to smile and wave back when they grin maniacally and shout at you from across a football field length warehouse. Because that’s too fucking much, y’all. It’s too fucking much!

The second moral of this story is give a girl a head’s up for fuck’s sake! A little fair warning would have been just bloody fucking marvelous!

The third moral of this story is never trust Hipster for Jesus ever ever again. And when he ridicules you, find a way to get him back. I suggest stealing his hair gel and swapping his nut-hugging skinny jeans with jogging pants. Maybe empty his 5-hour energy bottle and fill it with NyQuil. Take that, motherfucker! How ya like me now?

I think we’ve had enough creepy for one post, n’est pas? I shall save Panel Van Paco for another time. Aren’t you just giddy with excitement? Yeah, me neither.

 

News Flash: Time Marches On (aka The Year Ends. Every. Fucking. Year.)

File this bitch under pet peeves or something because damn, this gets under my skin. And I think it’s the kind of thing that is greatly exaggerated and exacerbated by working in an office environment. (P.S. The word is exacerbated. I didn’t say masturbated. I would never say masturbated. Especially not on my blog. I mean who talks about masturbation on their blogs? Perverts, that’s who. So I definitely did not say masturbated. But I digress.)

Gather round, Peoplleaneous, and watch as the the comedy horror unfolds.

~

All the World’s a Clock, and All the Office Workers Stand by in Shock: A Prophetic Glimpse into 2016

Brought to you by: Stephellaneous
Sponsored by: Miller Father Time

(Names changed to protect the innocent idiots.)

Act One: Shock and Awe

Kim in the Kitchen with Tea: Ohmygosh, y’all! Can you BELIEVE it’s January?
Jim in the Kitchen with Kim: I know, right? How did we get here?
Kim in the Kitchen with Tea: I wish I could tell ya! I just can’t believe it’s a whole ‘nother year!

Tim Passing through the Kitchen with Kim and Jim: I don’t think I’ll ever get used to writing 2016, instead of 2015. *grumbles*

Kim in the Kitchen with Tea and Jim and Tim: OH-HIIIII Stephanie! We were just saying how we can’t BELIEVE it’s January! Can you BELIEVE?
Stephanie in the Kitchen with Side-Eye: WHAT?!?! No way, man! Seems like this happened last year, too!!

*Uncomfortable laughter and mild confusion*

Stephanie, Glutton for Punishment that she is, Keeps Going: I mean, seriously! I’ve already been through 35 Januaries! I don’t understand how this keeps happening!

*Like cockroaches, the idiots scatter.*

Stephanie calls after them: Wait! We haven’t even discussed the fact that it’s Monday! Again! What is the deal with Mondays?

Act Two: The Lemmings Accept Defeat

Yvonne in the john: *sighs*
Gloria, the Perpetual Grump: What’s your problem?
Yvonne: It’s already April. Can you BELIEVE it’s already April?
Grumpy Gloria: Yeah, I can believe it. But you think you’ve got it bad? I hate Aprils. It’s just my luck it’s April.
Yvonne: Hm, now that you mention it, Aprils are kinda gloomy with all that rain.
Grumpy Gloria: Story of my life. As if I wasn’t suffering enough.
Stephanie:

April Showers

Act Three: Mass Confusion and Fear

Tony the Brony: Son of a…biscuit!
Betsy the Bewildered: Huh? What happened? What’s wrong? Are you mad at me? Is it raining? Is there any fresh coffee?
Tony the Brony, looking like a deer in headlights: No, wife just texted. Kids get outta school in two weeks.
Betsy the Bewildered: Oh. I don’t understand. Can’t you just put them in summer school or something? Also, you have kids??
Tony the Brony: I don’t know what I’m gonna do! I don’t understand how the school year flies by so fast like it does every fucking year in the history of ever!

Stephanie pours fuel on the fire: Yeah, and it’s gonna be sooooo hot. You know. Because summer. And they’ll want to be inside. All the time.
Tony the Brony: They’re going to eat me alive! I can’t handle this! Hashtag OMG! Hashtag FML! Hashtag I can’t even!
Stephanie the Asshole: Well, there’s always crack.
Tony the Brony: *blinks*
Stephanie: Get them hooked on crack. That way they’ll rob you once instead of slowly milking you for the rest of your life. Then they’ll move on to the street corner and live outside. Problem solved. You won’t even have to feed them.

Tony the Brony: *lays his head down on the desk and whispers* You’re evil.
Betsy the Bewildered: I don’t know what crack is, but that didn’t sound very nice.

tim_optimized
I realize this isn’t an exact fit for the scenario presented, but it’s close enough. Besides, Tim doesn’t give a fuck.

Act Four: The Anticipation is Killing Them (but not fast enough)

Tony the Brony returns: Son of a…biscuit!
Betsy the Bewildered: Huh? What happened? What’s wrong? Are you mad at me? Is it raining? Is there any fresh coffee?
Tony the Brony, looking like a deer in headlights: No, wife just texted. Kids go back to school in two weeks.
Betsy the Bewildered: Oh. I don’t understand. Can’t you just home-school them or something? Also, you have kids??
Tony the Brony: I don’t know what I’m gonna do! I don’t understand how the summer flies by so fast like it does every fucking year in the history of ever! I can’t afford this!

Kim in the Kitchen with Tea: I’m so excited! And I just can’t fight it!
Tony the Brony: What’s up?
Kim in the Kitchen with Tea: The kids go back to school in two weeks! I won’t have to deal with them anymore! And then it’ll be fall! And cooler weather! And pumpkins! And spicy lattes! And! And! Hooray!
Tony the Brony: Hmm. Yeah, I won’t have to deal with mine anymore, either! Now they’re someone else’s problem! And also, here comes No Shave November! Yay!

Stephanie Swoops in to Save the Day: There’s always boarding school.

*two sets of eyes blink back at her*

Stephanie Saving the Day: That way you’d never have to deal with them again!

Act Five: D is for Denial and Doom

Whiny Wendy: I’m so depressed. I can’t believe the year is almost gone. It’s already November. How is it November? Where did it come from?
Virulent Vicky: Well at least you don’t have to six kids to buy presents for.

Stephanie tries to be reasonable: You don’t have to buy presents, you know.
*Stephanie is resoundingly ignored.*

Whiny Wendy: But I don’t understand how we got here. It will be 2017 before you know it. How does this happen? I haven’t even gotten used to writing 2016 yet. Hashtag FML.
Virulent Vicky: Well at least you don’t have in-laws and extended family descending upon your house for three weeks. Vultures, all of them. I hate them all. Hashtag FML.

Whiny Wendy: What am I gonna do? I didn’t keep my New Years’ Resolutions for this year! And now I have to make new ones!
Virulent Vicky: Oh who cares. I’ve got it way worse than you. Why does this shit keep happening to me? It’s like everyone is out to get me. It couldn’t possibly get any worse!

Stephanie tries once more: I hear ya. It’s tough living in Sudan.

*two sets of eyes blink back at her*

Whiny Wendy: What’s that supposed to mean? I don’t get it.
Virulent Vicky: It means she’s an asshole. Let’s go. I need to do a passive-aggressive post on Facebook about her and about how much it sucks to be forced to spend $2,000 on Christmas presents.

lucy peanuts
I dedicate this cartoon to all of the aforementioned assholes.

The End.